Basehor had championship mentality in 2009
The giant poster-sized photo hangs on the wall inside the Basehor-Linwood High School gymnasium. If not for the fact that it’s in color, it would recollect some serious “Hoosiers” memories.
It was easy to make comparisons from the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team that won the Class 4A state championship in 2009 to the classic basketball flick. Sure, the movie’s Hickory High squad was a school of maybe 50 students taking on one of the state’s giants, so that comparison doesn’t quite fit. Still, the Bobcats’ run to a state title — the first Kansas State High School Activities Association-sanctioned athletic state championship in school history — had a very BLHS-versus-the-world feel to it. The Bobcats entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and were an oddball compared to traditional powers like Topeka Hayden, Girard and Wichita Independent. They were supposed to be happy to be there, take their first-round beating and go home with a T-shirt and program proving they’d gone to state.
Instead, the Bobcats had other plans. They returned home a few days later than many expected, T-shirts and programs in hand.
But they also brought a first-place trophy with them.
For everyone who made the trip to the Salina Bicentennial Center, and for everyone who tracked the game action online, it was a memorable weekend that stood out as the highlight of the year for Basehor-Linwood sports.
Still, success wasn’t limited to only the boys basketball program in 2009. Success was a theme for the year across numerous sports.
The girls basketball team posted a 17-win season
The BLHS powerlifters won their second straight girls state championship and the boys placed second. Powerlifting is an unsanctioned state activity, but the Bobcats dominated it nonetheless.
Basehor-Linwood’s baseball and softball teams both had solid spring seasons. Both made strong showings in the substate tournaments even though state tournament berths didn’t quite pan out. The softball team made history, anyway, as it battled Lansing for 23 innings in the longest game in state history.
Daniel Prioleau, a transfer student, exploded onto the area track scene and qualified for state in both the 100 and 200 meters.
This fall, the boys and girls cross country teams had their best seasons in recent memory. Both made considerable progress, and the girls sent two athletes — Hannah Tush and Kayla Peterson — to the state championships.
In addition, the football team stampeded its way to the best season in school history. The Bobcats posted an 8-2 record, won the Kaw Valley League championship, a district title and made a third straight trip to the Class 4A state playoffs. Senior quarterback Brandon Leppke made headlines when he was a finalist for the Fontana Award, which is presented to the top small-class player in the Kansas City metro area. It was the first time in BLHS history a player has been nominated for the award, and it thrust the program into an elite group that included area powerhouses such as Olathe North, Rockhurst (Mo.) and Blue Springs (Mo.).
Now we’re right back where we started — basketball season.
The BLHS boys are ranked No. 1 in the state and off to a 4-1 start as they set out to defend their state championship. The Bobcats are off to a good start, and if they keep it up then the top story of 2010 might be eerily familiar to 2009.